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Diwali special Besan and Suji ke laddu
Diwali is coming soon.
Lets avoid adulterated sweets from market and enjoy the homemade traditional sweets in the festive season.
Recipe for laddus
Suji(semolina)- 1 cup
Besan -2 cups
Desi Ghee or vanaspati ghee - 300 grams
Sugar - 1.5 cups
Cardamom powder - 1 tspn
Dry fruits of your choice

Take 2 tblspn of ghee in a pan and roast semolina(suji) on low to medium flame till it gets little brown gives nice aroma.
Keep it in a plate. Now take rest of the ghee and heat it. Pour beasn in the ghee and roast it on low to medium flame till it gets nice golden brown color and starts giving nice nutty aroma. As there is ghee so be careful it splatters too much. Also keep stirring so it will bot stick and burn. When its roasted remove it and put in a plate.(can keep in the same plate with roasted suji). Now in a pan add 1/2 cup water in sugar and heat it to make 1 string syrup. When it reaches to 1 string consistency switch off the stove. Quickly add suji and besan into the syrup and mix it well. There should not be any lumps. Add cardamom powder and crushed/chopped dry fruits. Keep it to cool for some time and keep stirring occasionally. This time suji absorbs the syrup. When it is warm (on tolerable temperature) start making laddus. Can garnish with more dry fruits. Can also add grated coconut while mixing dry fruits, but it may give smell if you keep the laddus for long time.

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Pongal (Ven Pongal) with Sambar and Chutnies
Ven pongal is the simplest and healthy South-Indian breakfast . Somewhat similar to khichdi. Goes well with coconut chuteny, sambar ,dried curd chilies and paapads.
This is similar to khichdi.
Rice- 1 cup
Moong daal washed- 1/4 c up and 2 tblspns
Ghee- 3 tblspns
Kali mirch (blck pepper)-1tspn
Ginger- 1 tspn (finely chopped)
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn
Curry leaves - 7-8
Kaju (Cashews )- 8-10 broken
Water - 3 cups
Salt to taste
Heeng -1 pinch (optional)
Green chilies -2-3 (optional)

In a pan or on tawa first dry roast moong daal for 2-3 mnts in medium flame. Till it becomes little brown in color. Keep it aside. Then dry roast the rice just for 2-3 mnts. Now wash both rice and daal. Keep aside. In cooker take 3 tblspns oil. Heat the oil and quickly fry the broken cashew nuts. Remember it burns too fast. Then take the cashew out,drain the oil and keep the nuts aside.
Now in the same ghee add cumin seeds, kali mirch and crackle them. And curry leaves. Add ginger and saute for few seconds.
Now add washed rice and daal. Mix well add water and salt. Cook it. We need to put more water than our usual rice cooking. Because pongal should not be dry, but not too watery as well.
When it is cooked,add cashews and garnish with coriander leaves.
Eat with coconut chutny and sambar.
1. Can roast in little ghee also.
2. No need to wash rice and daal becfore roasting them.
3. Can add cashews while cooking..but I like the crunchiness which comes when we add it later.
4. Dryness and liquidity of pongal depends upon the quality of rice and daal, also upon your choice how you like to make it.
4. Traditional pongal looks like halwa. Means rice and daal looks crushed.

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Imarti OR Jhangiri (in south India)

Traditional Indian sweet. A little tricky job to give the proper shape, comes easy after some practice.
Urad dal - 2 cups (soaked for 4-5 hours)
Sugar - 3 cups
Ghee to fry - 500 grms
Cardamom (optional)
ketchup bottle/jalebi maker (nozzle bottle)
Edible food color - saffron color
Rose essence (optional)
Saffron strands - 5-6
Pishta flakes
Soak urad dal in water for 4-5 hours or overnight.
Grind the dal in minimum water and make a fine and thick batter.
Add cardamom powder/rose essence , color mix well and keep the batter aside for 3-4 hours.
Take 3 cups of sugar with 1 and 1/2 cup of water in a sauce pan and prepare sugar syrup of one thread consistency.
Now pour the batter in nozzle bottle/ketchup bottle. Close the bottle tight. Heat ghee in a flat bottom frying pan.
Press the bottle and make the shape of imarti. Fry them on medium heat from both sides until it becomes crispy .
Drain them and dip into hot sugar syrup. Let them immersed in sugar syrup for 2-4 mnts, so they absorb the syrup well.
Take them out in a plate, sprinkle pishta, saffron strands. Serve hot.

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Ghiya/Lauki/Doodhi (Bottle gourd Halwa)

Ghiya (Lauki/bottle gourd) - 1 kg
Ghee - 2 table spoons
sugar - 250 grms (more or less as per the taste )
Milk - 1/2 liter
Khoa - 100 grms OR pedas
Cardamom powder
Rose water essence - 1table spoon
Dry fruits of your choice
Food color - Optional (green or pink)
Dessciated coconut - 2 tea spoons for garnishing optional

Choose nice bottle gourd which have less or no seeds.Peel off the bottle gourd. Its better to take a taste of raw ghiya as sometimes they are bitter in taste.Grate bottle gourd and remove if it has big seeds, while small and soft seeds can be used.
Now take a big pan/kadahi and put 2 table spoons of pure ghee(can take more or less too). Heat ghee and add grated ghiya in that.
Now mix well and cover the pot and let it cook on low flame for 5-10 mnts. Ghiya releases natural water and it will help it to cook.
Now add milk and cook again for 10 mnts. Cook till the milk is disappreared and the mixture is not looking watery.
Now you can add 50 grams of khoa or pedas. cook it again for 10 mnts. Cook it untill you get the halwa consistency. Now add sugar and cook it. Add
cardamom powder dry fruits and essence.

1. Taste the bitter gourd before making halwa.
2. Do not squeeze water from the grated bitter gourd
3. You can avoid adding food color but you can make look appealing to eat with adding a bit of green color.
4. Adding rose essence increases the flovour but you can avoid
5. You can add more ghee or can completely avoid.
6. You can vaporise extra water/moisture in halwa till you get desired consistancy
7. Always cook on low-medium flame, never pressure cook it
8. If you do not get khoa then you can buy readymade pedas from market and use it in halwa but then you need to cut the sugar as pedas already have sugar in that
9. If you dont want to use khoa or peda then take more milk (doubled) and vaporise it so it will taste good..
10. You can taste the halwa and add anything anytime you need and cook it for some more time

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